What Does Whale Taste Like?

Whale, whale, whale, what do we have here? A whale steak, is that right? Keep reading and find out. 

Since whales are mammals, they taste closer to their land counterpart cows than they do seafood. So, while you may be expecting it to taste similar to swordfish, it is much more accurate to compare it to a gamey version of beef or venison. The texture is extremely chewy, and due to the high-fat content, it melts in the mouth. It is a dark red in color, almost purple. 

Where Do They Eat Whales? 

While it is illegal to hunt whales in most of the world, a few countries prove to be the exception. Japan views whale meat as a delicacy and often prepares it raw in sushi

Iceland and Norway still allow for the legal hunting of whales, and it is a valued source of meat. Historically it was a very cheap and common food source for these countries before the practice lost public favor. 

Can You Get Whale Meat in the United States?

Whale meat cannot legally be sold in the United States. It is a federally punishable crime and can result in misdemeanor charges of up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $200,000. 

How Do You Eat Whale? 

If you live or visit a country where the consumption of whales is legal, there are many ways to enjoy this delicacy. 

  • It can be consumed raw in sashimi or lightly cooked. 
  • Whale steaks are a popular option. 
  • Stewed or baked whale is a traditional Norwegian dish. 
  • Whale bacon is dry-cured with salt and smoked.

What Parts of the Whale Are Consumed? 

  • The main body of the whale comprises 40% of the meat cuts produced. 
  • The whale tongue is a prized cut of the mammal. It is high in fat and rich in flavor. 
  • The tail fin is fatty and gelatinous. 
  • The most sought-after cut of the whale is from the base of the tail fin. It is exceptionally marbled and melts like butter on your tongue. 

How Much Does Whale Meat Cost? 

In places where it is legal to sell, whale meat is not terribly expensive. In Japan, whale meat wholesales for around $17 a pound, with retail prices being around $65 a pound. 

Final Thoughts

The thought of eating a whale might be controversial, but the consensus on the taste is unanimous: it is delicious. If you happen to visit a country where eating whale meat is legal, dive in and try it for yourself.